Experts estimate that nearly half of the people have died of mosquito-borne infections in the last 50,000 years. As a result, some experts believe that we should strive for their complete elimination. But what would the disappearance of mosquitoes do with the ecosystem?
Biting Insects Endanger Human Lives
Mosquitoes transmit dangerous infections that threaten people, especially in Africa and Asia. According to estimates, about half of the people have died from mosquito bites in the last 50,000 years. Throughout human history, wars have killed about one billion people. However, deaths due to conflicts are negligible compared to deaths caused by mosquito-borne infections.
There are currently about 3,500 species of mosquitoes. Only 100 species suck human blood, and only some transmit infections between humans and other mammals. According to Steven Sinkins of the University of Glasgow’s Virus Research Center, not every mosquito feeds on human blood transmits dangerous infections – such as Culiset mosquitoes.
Targeted Mosquito Extermination
Some experts say that we should purposefully eliminate specific species of mosquitoes. One method is already being used in practice – releasing mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia bacteria, which disrupt the reproduction of Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes transmitting malaria in India and, more recently, in Africa.
It is also possible to release genetically modified mosquitoes, preventing further reproduction. For example, the Biotechnology Company Oxitec has released the genetically modified species Aedes aegypti in Brazil, Panama, Malaysia, and the Cayman Islands. As a result, the populations of A. aegypti, which transmit yellow fever, dengue, and Ziga, have decreased by 90% in these localities.
Mosquitoes are an essential part of food chains, and many of them pose no threat to humans. Mosquitoes are the primary food source for many animals, including bats, birds, frogs, fish, and dragonflies. It is not yet clear to what extent the disappearance of all mosquitoes would affect ecosystems.
Source: https://www.livescience.com/what-if-all-mosquitoes-died, featured photo by Егор Камелев on Unsplash,